VANCOUVER, BC – After leading the Venezuelan Primera División with 23 goals in 2017, Anthony Blondell had some clubs from Europe sniffing around for his services.
But Carl Robinson got to him first.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Thursday that the club has acquired the 23-year-old striker from Venezuelan Primera División side Monagas SC and signed him through 2020, and a club option for 2021, with the use of Targeted Allocation Money.
In order to get the deal done, the ‘Caps also sent $50,000 of General Allocation Money to FC Dallas, who had Blondell’s MLS Discovery Rights.
“Sometimes you have to try and get in there before all the so-called bigger European teams come in,” Robinson told whitecapsfc.com. “You have to make decisions. The hardest thing in this game I think is making decisions. You can sit and wait and wait and then miss the boat or you can just pull the trigger. The club has been great. I’ve identified Anthony and said I wanted to sign him and they’ve done it very quickly."
Robinson said Blondell first came to his attention about three or four months ago.
From there, the process was set in motion of thoroughly scouting the player, who helped Monagas SC capture the Torneo Apertura title and recently earned his first cap with the Venezuelan national team. Robinson analyzed him – and so did all his coaches.
Clearly, they liked what they saw.
Then, it was a matter of negotiating a transfer fee with Monagas SC, acquiring his MLS rights from FC Dallas, and ultimately agreeing to a contract with Blondell.
“We made it aware that we were really serious with our offer, we knew the boy would want to come, and we followed the process,” Robinson said. “We’re delighted we’ve got him on board because we do think that he’s going to be an excellent addition for us and a different option.”
An option that will not only score goals – but also create chances for himself and others with his athletic ability and relentlessness in the final third.
“He’s a big strong boy,” Robinson said. “I think the league is set up that you need to have power. You need to be aggressive. You look at the successful centre forwards this league, the Kei Kamaras, the Fanendo Adis, people like that. They’re obviously built a certain way.”
Robinson said Blondell can play as a lone striker, a second forward, or even a winger who will drift inside but he’s hoping the Venezuelan will be one of three forwards options competing for starts in 2018. Either way, the ‘Caps feel they’ve found a player with massive upside.
“He’s not the finished article,” Robinson said, “but he’s a great talent.”